In today’s day and age of such skepticism, we often live by the statement, “I’ll have to see it in order to believe it.” It is no longer enough to say, “I give you my word.” No, most people today say that unless they see something with their own eyes, they will not believe it.
There is nothing different today than there was 2,000 years ago when Jesus walked this earth. Jesus came with the claim that He was God in the flesh. But most people demanded a sign that would prove His statement to be true.
I am studying the Gospel of John these days and I find it absolutely amazing to see how many times people were basing their beliefs about Jesus off of what they saw rather than what they heard. If you read the Gospel of John rather quickly, you would think that many people who saw the miracles of Jesus and then believed in Him were commended for their belief. But this is really not the case. In fact, most that believed in Jesus based on what they saw were still indeed far from understanding who Jesus really was. It was those who believed Jesus because of His words who became true believers.
For example, early in Jesus’ ministry, we hear of many miracles that he did and many people who believed in Him upon seeing those miracles. But scripture then says this: “…many people saw the miraculous signs that Jesus was doing and believed in His name. But Jesus would not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for He knew what was in a man.” John 2:23-25 So then, those who believed based on what they saw were not commended at all for their belief. The very next passage is the story of Nicodemus. He comes to Jesus with what appears to be this great statement of faith and belief stating, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one else could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In other words, Nicodemus is basically saying that based on what they have seen, they believe that Jesus is from God. Jesus’ response is like a sharp arrow that pierces through the hollow hearts of those who think they know. He states, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” John 3:3. In other words, Jesus was basically telling Nicodemus that he really is unable to have saving faith by merely seeing some miracles and then believing, and that in order to really see, he must be born again.
Which then would lead to the next question, which Nicodemus does in fact ask, “How can this be?” In other words, “How can one be born again?” And then Jesus explains how one can truly see the kingdom of God. And it is not by seeing miracles and believing, but rather by hearing the words of truth and then believing.
Another example is the story in John chapter 4 of the royal official whose son was dying at home. He came to Jesus and begged Him to come to the home to heal the boy. Upon first reading this, you would not think anything with such a request. But Jesus’ response showed the man where his error was. Upon this man’s request, Jesus replies, “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, Jesus told him, you will never believe.” The man still didn’t get it. He begged Jesus to literally come down to his house so that his son would live. And to this, Jesus, full of mercy, said, “You may go. Your son will live.” In other words, Jesus was showing this man that he did not have to have Jesus literally come and perform a miraculous sign, but rather that Jesus could merely speak the word and his son would be healed. Jesus was teaching this man that the authority of Jesus came not through the miraculous signs, but rather through His spoken word. This man realized that he did not have to see a miracle performed in front of his eyes, but rather simply had to trust in the spoken words of God.
This speaks volumes to my heart these days as I continue to grieve the loss of my 4 year old princess who seemed to be taken to Heaven way too early. And truthfully, my heart is still in the greatest pain that it has ever known. Words do not adequately describe the pain that my wife and I feel. And I wish that I could make sense of it, but I can’t. I wish that I could see the reasons why my little girl had to die. Even more so, I wished that I could have seen the miracle of her healing, but I didn’t. God had another plan. And even now, I want so badly to see just how the Lord is working this out for His glory…but I can’t see any of that. To me, there is nothing glorious about it. It hurts. It sucks. It is the greatest pain ever known. It is confusing. I can’t stand it. And I can’t see anything that looks redeeming about it.
But yet, the Lord calls me to believe based on what I have heard rather than what I have or have not seen. And what I have heard is solely from His word of truth…that God is good…that He is in complete control…that our light and momentary afflictions are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all…that precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints…that through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we too who put our hope in Him, shall not die, but have eternal life. All that I have to cling to is the word of God which contain all the glorious promises for the true believer – the one who believes based upon His words rather than what is seen.
And so I continue to walk by faith and not by sight. I continue to try to fix my eyes upon what is unseen rather than what is seen, for what is seen is only temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. I continue to try and realize that God is not so bound up in time as I am. His plans will indeed come to pass. I will indeed see my little girl again. But all according to His time table, not my own.
All that I have is the promise of God found in His word. And, by His grace, this is what I shall cling to all my days until that day comes when my faith shall be my eyes.
We just returned to the states a few days ago. Yesterday, we visited Susana’s grave side. Yesterday, we wept a lot. O Lord Jesus, Come quickly!!!!!